Violent crime increases past five years in Tompkins County

Early in the morning on April 9, two men got into an altercation, the likes of which sometimes occur on The Commons after a night of partying. But the fight escalated, and one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other.

Just after noon on Easter, an elderly woman was robbed on South Geneva Street while walking home from church — the second personal robbery that week.

Though the events are random and apparently disconnected, they are just a few examples contributing to an overall increase in violent crime in Tompkins County over the past five years.

In 2011, 90 violent crimes were reported, while in 2015, 147 incidents were reported. The number of reported rapes has also risen severely. Ten rapes were reported in 2011 compared to 55 in 2015, according to New York state crime data. Also, 22 robberies were reported in 2011, which rose to 32 in 2015. Data for 2016 have not yet been released.

Jamie Williamson, public information officer at the Ithaca Police Department, said there have been two homicides in the Town of Ithaca over the past eight months, marking the first time in nearly five years that the City of Ithaca has experienced a homicide. He said it is difficult to determine the reason for that.

He also said there has been an apparent increase in shootings over the past year and drug use over the past several years.

John Graves, president of the South Hill Civic Association, said he has been a resident of Ithaca his entire life and that while he still feels safe in Ithaca, he thinks violent and drug crimes have gotten worse.

“You have to be very careful when you go out at like 10 o’clock,” he said. “Over the years, there’s just random violence.”

By Ryan King — Staff Writer
Published: April 19, 2017